COMMUNITY HEROES: Jonesborough woman practicing what she preaches, elected as 2019 Tennessee Mother of the Year


JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (WJHL) – A nearly 200 year-old church sits in the middle of downtown Jonesborough.

What’s even more impressive is the woman leading it.

“Her approachability is what makes her unique. She’s the type of individual that everyone feels comfortable with. You can approach her, you can talk to her. She is non-judgemental. She’s a great listener. I think that relationship skill is something that is pretty rare these days,” congregation member Diane Rosch said.

Rosch has been a member of the Jonesborough United Methodist Church congregation for the last three years, and a friend of Karen Lane.

Rosch said, “It’s hard to even measure the impact that she’s had on our community. She’s in a unique role because she has this audience every week, at church, where there’s hundreds of people that get to benefit from the words that she sang. I think that makes your words so important.”

Rosch said it goes beyond lane’s pastoral work.

“As a professional woman and a mom, she is real. She shares her triumps and her fails. I think that helps all of us to understand that we’re kind of in this together,” Rosch said.

It is her duty as a mother and being able to translate that other children in the community.

“I like to make sure that children are feeling loved, that children are surrounded by people who want to encourage them. One of my passions is to work with children who are illiterate and also their parents who are illiterate. Giving the parents an opportunity to learn to read so that they can teach their children to read,” Karen Lane said. “Have a passion to just helping students to achieve wonderful things in school and in life, period. So, our church is working to being able to have a community music class with children from the elementary school because they have proven that music helps children to learn better.”

She loves teaching so much that she has homeschooled her two kids, since the beginning.

“One of the reasons for that was to allow them to succeed because in school, sometimes teachers are truly amazing but they don’t have the time to do one-on-one. This allows us to help them in the areas they struggle, and also to push them in the areas they excell in,” Lane said. “Giving them new and different ways to experience school. We do a lot of outings and a lot of field trips, and so a lot of community service. They serve with the melting pot right alongside of me. They go help the homeless people that are in our community.”

Lane explained that she also teaches her kids to be servant leaders.

“They get a taste for what it means to be a community worker and not just out for themselves,” she said. “Love God and love all people, because I believe with all my heart that we just need to love people. It would make such a difference if we offered love in the world.”

Because of this, Rosch elected lane to be the 2019 Tennessee Mother of the Year.

“I got a letter in the mail that said I had been nominated by this fabulous woman in the church and I honestly had no idea what American Mothers was,” Lane joked.

Rosch said, “When I see that she really supports things like family promise, the food pantry, the kids ministry, she’s a girl scout leader. Really, the list goes on than we need to mention but doing the things that are necessary to make those programs run, is what matters.”

The honor recognizes an “admirable” mother who shares a mother’s unconditional love, inner strength, and courage.

Lane explained, “The hardest lesson that I have learned is life isn’t fair. I am one of those people that sees the world through rose-colored glasses. I think everything should just be wonderful and the more I’m with people, and work with people, and I’m around children, I see how hard their lives can be. It’s a hard lesson in something that has made me work harder to help children and people succeed.”

Lane has been a pastor at the Jonesborough based church for the last six years. She is the church’s second female pastor in its 197-year-old history.

When asked who inspires her, Lane said Ronda Paulson came to mind.

“Definitely mothers. Mothers who are making a difference in the community. The one that comes to mind is Ronda. She is right here in Washington County and she is the woman that started the 117 House. She has taken children who are having the worst day of their lives, ripped from their homes, ripped from their parents from everything they know, and putting them into a loving and wonderful home until they can find foster care.”

“Another mother that I thought of was Sabrina. I met her at the American Mothers Convention in Washington D.C. For the last six years, she has been helping parents with special needs children get the medical equipment they need, all while taking care of her daughter McKayla who was only supposed to live to age 1 and is now in her mid 20s,” Lane said.

If you know someone who makes our community a better place to live, we want to hear from you! Nominate them to be an ABC Tri-Cities Community Hero! Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to nominate them.

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